I keep threatening to get B.K. a t-shirt that says, “Another Boring Day at West Point.” Because, actually, of course, there ARE no boring days at West Point.
Last night she had some free time because the cadets are gone for Spring Break, and well, because it was nighttime and she wasn’t Duty Chaplain. We decided to go out for supper while we were working. When we got back, the whole driveway to her place (not to mention, the Cadet Chapel) was filled with police cars and firetrucks. Definitely one of those, “Please don’t tell me my house burned down,” moments. (Especially since the Chaplain’s dogs were home.) But it turned out there was a water main break in the water station just across from the Chapel, and hundreds of gallons of water were gushing down the steps and into the road running down toward the Hudson.
Just the week before, of course, she had officiated at Norman Schwarzkopf’s funeral, and a few days later, gone down to D.C. to help celebrate 40 years of women in the military chaplaincy. But, to tell you the truth, those aren’t even the most interesting things. But it does help explain why plotting time is so precious. (This is a photo of chaplains from each of the branches. They happen to be standing in front of a large photo of B.K. to the left, when she was the female division chaplain in combat.)
There comes a time in the writing of the books when we have divided things up, and can write separately. It’s the beginnings parts–the plotting and character development–that we need to work on together. In fact, I probably shouldn’t show you this, but here is the Eden Grid for the last three books–which will tell you what we wrestle with at the beginning of this new book. (Yes, you may now use this to write your own Eden thriller.)
SUPER SECRET EDEN PLOT GRID:
A Really Cool Biblical Site to runaround in:
Chasing (Ur, Babylon, Southern Swamplands—Eden)
Treasure (Judean Wilderness, caves of the Essenes/Gardeners)
A Really Cool Maguffin (i.e. what it seems like everyone’s chasing after):
Chasing: The missing Sword of Eden
Beyond: The Missing Children of Terris/Eden
Treasure: The Missing Ancient Messenger Box
What’s everyone’s REALLY after:
Chasing: The entry to Eden
Beyond: Eternal Life (Is John still alive in the cave under the Monastery?)
Treasure: The Greatest Treasure in his/her own life; the Entrance to Eden/the Gardener Gospel
Other issues the reader should probably think about:
Chasing: war; looting of antiquities; corporations running the world;
Beyond: what is your plan to get off this earth? Are you planning for the rapture till you’re no earthly good? Do you want to live forever if science can swing it?
Treasure: what is most important to you? And are you even aware of the world economy and how those running it can affect YOU?
Levels of bad guys chasing the same thing you are:
CHASING: Frank, Garrick, Murdoch guy, Saddam Hussein
BEYOND: kidnapper/killer lady, guy paying for experiments, people staging visions of the Rapture
TREASURE: Frank, eBay guy, J. Aldrich Woodbury, Frank.
What we learn about Jaime:
Where we see Jaime Chaplaining towards the beginning (yes, we use it as a verb):
Chasing: the soldier whose friend was killed
Beyond: the injured soldier on the plane
Treasure: the general and the soldier in surgery
Flashback scene from her past:
Chasing: Getting the word that Paul died, falling in love with the Muslim boy and being sent from the camp
Beyond: The seeds of her healing/becoming a minister in plane with pastor
Treasure: Her wedding to Paul
Chasing: Who is this cute guy and why am I tied up on his lap? Do I trust him with my life?
Beyond: Whydid Yani kiss me like he meant it and then turn everything off? And of course I have to completely undress him to save his life.
Treasure: I can have fantasy-setting sex with a rock star, but all I really want is Yani. Who won’t engage, even if I (truly) kill myself to find him.
And thereby hangs a book. How hard is that, right?